By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
Here’s the latest HOA fraud scandal circulating on social media.
This large-scale fraud and theft crossed state lines in the metropolitan Washington DC area. The worst part of it is that William K. Francis, owner of Legacy Investment and Management, LLC, admits to stealing money from Association reserve accounts. You know, those long-term, save-for-future-repairs-and-improvement accounts that are vital to the longevity of Association-Governed developments. Francis admits he falsified bank statements to conceal his crime. U.S. Attorney’s Office investigators reported that Francis lived a lavish and somewhat unsavory lifestyle with his new-found wealth.
I wanted to learn more about Francis, so I did a little research. I found the following video and several others on You Tube. In the videos, Francis uses his middle name, and introduces himself as Kyndall Francis. Listen to this promotional video about his management company. Sounds like a page right from the CAI (Community Associations Institute) talking points manual. Mr. Francis wants to educate homeowners and protect your property values.
And that makes sense, when you consider that Francis served on the membership committee for CAI Chesapeake Chapter in 2011 (see page 20).
And here’s a News 4 report of a Maryland condo association affected by Legacy Investments and Management, originally aired in May 2013. There are two videos, one interviewing condo owners and the new manager, and another interviewing a tenant too afraid to show her face on camera. Both owners and tenants are left with the aftermath of Francis’ now-admitted acts of theft and fraud. In addition to unpaid utilities and threats of losing service, condo residents have a poorly maintained building, a high assessment delinquency rate (owners stopped paying when it became clear their money was going into a black hole), and allegedly fraudulent liens placed on their properties.
Struggling Md. Condo Under New Management
Francis managed 52 condo associations, and in addition to crimnial charges, at least 7 of them filed a civil suit that concluded in 2014, with an award of more than $450,000. See references below.
Other References, for those who are interested:
U.S. Attorney’s Office news release
Case transcript involving Legacy Investment and Managment LLC